Night VFR Poll

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by iamtheari, Feb 7, 2019.

?

Do you fly night VFR?

  1. No

    34 vote(s)
    22.7%
  2. Only in an IFR-equipped plane (and I AM instrument rated)

    48 vote(s)
    32.0%
  3. Only in an IFR-equipped plane (and I am NOT instrument rated)

    42 vote(s)
    28.0%
  4. Only over brightly lit, populated areas

    11 vote(s)
    7.3%
  5. Yes, even over sparsely populated areas without an attitude or turn indicator

    15 vote(s)
    10.0%
  6. Yes, because I am the one person in the world whose plane has a parachute but no attitude indicator

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. No, even though I am the one person in the world whose plane has a parachute but not attitude indica

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. iamtheari

    iamtheari Pattern Altitude

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    I love flying at night. It's usually smooth, always peaceful, and often beautiful. It is definitely better than driving at night.

    But I am a chicken. I only fly at night when I have at least a turn indicator, and ideally an attitude indicator. I often think about hopping in the Champ for a sunset flight, but knowing that I may have to fly home without a great visible horizon and without any gyro instruments keeps me from doing it. Even if I get back to the airport with some twilight remaining, one or two go-arounds could run me out of usable light and I want to keep a series of go-arounds available as a safe option.

    So here's a poll to see if I'm the only chicken in the sky. I know that there is overlap in the options. Maybe you only fly IFR-equipped AND over brightly lit, populated areas. But I tried to set the options up so that you choose the first one that applies to your own comfort level.
     
  2. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Nope, you’re not the only chicken. I LOVE night flying too, but I’m becoming much more risk averse about flying a single engine airplane at night.
     
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  3. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    All the planes I fly night VFR are instrument equipped
     
  4. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    We need an option for non IFR equipped planes that do have attitude and turn indicators. That's me.
     
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  5. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Not sure why you feel you are chicken about wanting basic instruments at night. They are pretty much necessary over certain areas where it might be what the FAA defines as "actual" instrument conditions or where several common visual illusions take place.

    I answered, but I find I fly a lot less at night than I used to. I don't even keep current anymore except sporadically. Not fear or lack of interest - I have loved night flying since my student dual cross country - just less opportunity.
     
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  6. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I didn't hesitate to fly night VFR before I was instrument rated. A good plane and a six pack (of instruments, not beer!) is sufficient.
     
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  7. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Color deficient so no nights for me.

    Cheers
     
  8. iamtheari

    iamtheari Pattern Altitude

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    I should have worded the options differently to reflect that I meant "gyro instruments" rather than truly IFR capable. But I can't change them now other than adding more options, and I've always hated polls with too many options. :)
     
  9. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Too many "only" options.

    I'm not IFR rated yet and I fly at night in my IFR equipped airplane and not just over brightly lit areas. And I live among the scary mountains. Night flight is peaceful and smooth most of the time and in the summer is a better option.
     
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  10. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I used to do it all the time in gyro equipped planes. I also did it when required in work planes that had no functioning attitude instruments. As long as it wasn't too hazy I didn't have any trouble with it. Clear air and a good moon? Might as well be flying during the day its so bright once your eyes adjust. But that was all close to 20 years ago. These days? I don't know that I'd be too keen on it without redundant attitude instruments. And even then I think I'd prefer more than one engine if I could get it. Getting older does that to you.
     
  11. AA5Bman

    AA5Bman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I used to not worry about it much and would fly a VFR (but six-pack) plane at night relatively often.

    That was until I flew right into clouds/fog at night that were unforecasted and that you absolutely could not see until you were in them... I have gotten a LOT more adverse to night flying since then.
     
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  12. iamtheari

    iamtheari Pattern Altitude

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    That part of night VFR is a whole other can of worms. I don't fly night VFR if I can't see the stars. And I'm always a lot happier if I am IFR current in an IFR equipped plane so I can file in the air if clouds or fog pop up, without declaring an emergency first. This poll is just about what people need to feel comfortable flying night VFR on a perfectly clear night. :)
     
  13. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Not sure how helpful an IFR-equipped aircraft is to a VFR pilot. I mean, sure, you can track to a VOR or something, but it's not going to keep you from getting upside-down.
     
  14. dreyna14

    dreyna14 Pre-Flight

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    I absolutely love flying at night. Smooth, little traffic, and just plain neato. First night flight since 2002 was last night but it was a instrument lesson and couldn't look at s*** until 10-20 seconds before touchdown. Just two more landings and I'm current. I really want to go up during July 4th fireworks and look down from above.
     
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  15. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Depends

    If there is a good moon or ground lights, basically it’s not like a black hole, I’d do it in a VFR plane even with no AI.

    If it’s black hole conditions, but clear weather wise I’d want a AI, but might not require a IFR plane otherwise

    I’m instrumented rated
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
  16. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    As Bob Dole said when they asked whether he wears boxers or briefs...Depends. ;)

    No gyros is fine when the weather’s decent, but I like a T&B in marginal weather.
     
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  17. Ventucky Red

    Ventucky Red Line Up and Wait

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    This is the only time I do my IFR proficiency... it is usually pretty quiet and less crowded, ATC is easier to work with..
     
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  18. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 Pattern Altitude

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    I don't.

    1. I can get any where I want to go during the day.
    2. Everything's great until the engine fails. Then you have a bad situation that gets exponentially worse. Same with flying over large bodies of water why do it if you don't have to ?
    But, Don't let me stop you if you want to.
     
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  19. tawood

    tawood Pattern Altitude

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    I have about 700 vfr hours, with about 100 at night...this doesn't seem like much to me, but when my instrument instructor looked at my logbook he whistled and said, "Man, you fly at night a lot!"
     
  20. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    I don't PLAN to fly night VFR except for night currency.

    If for some reason I arrive at night that's not a big deal, since 80% or more of the flight would have been day VFR.
     
  21. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Line Up and Wait

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    I originally flew at night without much thought... after my hiatus from flying a nd having got back in last fall I’m thinking I would avoid besides for a bright moon night then only maybe...

    The thought of knowing a forest and a hayfield look the same if things go quiet is now on my mind. The thought that a power line is completely invisible too worries me... Back in the day I just believed engine failures were so insanely rare I didn’t question it. A few more years under my belt and I’m thinking it’s not worth the 4 fold increase in fatality rate, for an event I’m finding out is not so insanely rare, rare yes, but often enough a 4x risk of death may not be with it.

    I’m also a new TW guy too and I’m told TW is all the easier to get away from you at night...
     
  22. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    Not enough options in the poll.

    I don’t get enthused about night flight in piston singles, regardless of how they are equipped. But I do it when I have to. Multi or turbine doesn’t bother me.
     
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  23. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    I fly at night VFR, but I have rules and those rules didn't change after I got my instrument rating:
    1. 25% moon or better
    2. No mountains
    3. No clouds
    4. No unfamiliar terrain
    5. Lights below
    6. Forecast has improving weather, not deteriorating
    7. Good temp/DP spread
    8. No pushing past bedtime
    9. Gyro instruments
    10. Radar flight following
    Didn't really see a poll option that fit well so I didn't answer.
     
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  24. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I've never heard that and I would seriously doubt the validity of it for all but the least experienced and proficient of tailwheel pilots.
     
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  25. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    If you are flying XC VFR at night and not instrument rated, please include me in your will. If it’s just turns in the pattern, don’t worry about it.
     
  26. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Line Up and Wait

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    Good to know... Though I think the thought of silent fan is going to keep me from a lot of night flight anyway. And I am brand new to TW, so I am extra cautious on conditions. If this weather keeps up in Michigan I'm going to need training again before I fly again it seems, uggh. Not literally-just venting, I know its my choice to live here, but I don't have to like every aspect of it. :)
     
  27. Eric Brunelle

    Eric Brunelle Pre-Flight

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    Have you tried to get the waiver? Took me three tries, but I finally passed with actual light guns - by the skin of my teeth. I can see PAPI lights enough to be safe, and stay away from small, unfamiliar airports at night. I love flying at night, but you really need to understand that vertical runway proximity visual sensing is different from the daytime.
     
  28. woodchucker

    woodchucker Cleared for Takeoff

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    I too enjoy flying at night, but rarely do so.
     
  29. TipTanks

    TipTanks Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I selected no, however I wouldn't fly SE IFR at night either. I would fly a twin VFR or IFR at night... depending on terrain, WX, light levels etc.
     
  30. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Preachin to the choir. Relocated here 9 years ago. The winters definitely took a while to get used to. o_O
     
  31. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I chose IFR equipped planes but not IR. But I've never had access to a non-IFR equipped plane so there's that.
     
  32. idahoflier

    idahoflier Line Up and Wait

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    I almost never do, although I recently went out and got night current. If I flew around less mountainous areas I might fly at night more. One of my HS classmates was killed at an early age in a C182 that had an engine failure. He probably would have survived if it had not been a night flight...
     
  33. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    I've been flying at night since I was a student pilot. How did all of you ever finish your PPL, between required Night Landings and Night XC hours???

    My longest night trip is just over 400nm, takeoff at sunset to landing. There's not many places darker at night than the eastern KY coalfields, and that's where my long night XCs were, either headed outbound over them at the top of climb, or headed home and descending over them. Below is sunset southbound over E KY at 10,000 msl.

    Now that I'm rated, I've even done Night IFR flights, but I shy away from Night IMC. Night is good; IMC is good; dealing with both is a lot. That's where my risk tolerance alarm starts to twinge . . .

    Not sure I've ever flown a plane without a full gyroscopic six pack, but dark down below is no more worrisome that dark up above. And it's peaceful! So I also can't answer the poll due to lack of a correct choice.

    2011-10-21_19-26-23_957.jpg
     
  34. CRQFlier

    CRQFlier Pre-Flight

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    I don't do it anymore. Very very few decent engine out options at night in SoCal.

    Sent from my SM-G960U1 using Tapatalk
     
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  35. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    Flew from Colorado to KS last Saturday night. It was mostly VFR but the approach hit some low clouds. No ground lighting, no moon, and clouds that were black. It was DARK. I was prepared for it and the approach went fine but it did increase the pucker factor some had I been VFR it would have been a nasty surprise. Due to the lack of ground lighting you had no way to tell if there were clouds down there. METAR was 5SM with BR and CLR, temp/dewpoint was 11/10 so I figured I'd get some clouds on approach.
     
  36. Topper

    Topper Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I don’t, but i generally only fly at night when going somewhere. When I am going somewhere I am ifr regardless of the weather. I sure prefer night flying in a twin and try to only fly imc at night in a twin.

    I do love flying at night, taking off out of a large city never gets old.
     
  37. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    Sometimes it can be hard to detect drift at night in a crosswind when there are minimal visual references. Anyone with a little tailwheel time knows they aren’t as tolerant to crooked landings as trikes are. Would I get paranoid over tailwheel at night? No. Would I make sure I’m on my toes? Yes.
     
  38. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    I love flying at night.
     
  39. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    I find night flying to be the most beautiful kind of flying there is. Definitely requires attention.. but if you're proficient on instruments and the engine doesn't quit the risk is mitigated. Plus, there's much less I-can-barely-speak-english and weekend warrior traffic at night. If you land at MYF after about 9pm the place is a ghost town and the only ATC you talk to is going be airliners and corporate.. much fewer ATC alerts to "there's traffic 3 miles and 2 o'clock, I'm not talking to him.. looks to be maneuvering". Plus at least in my case if the engine quits I have the chute

    But really, for the small amount of night flying people generally do in a year you'd have to have really bad luck for the statistics gods to kill your engine on a night flight

    *Speaking of.. how often do engines *actually* quit because they mechanically failed an innocent pilot. Aren't most engine failures the result of tanks running dry, unsumped tanks, or some other, generally user caused, error?
     
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  40. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    For sudden stoppage, you are probably right. However, my guess is that most mechanical failures result in partial power.